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ED 396 095 

CE 071 504 






Prescott, Carolyn A. 

Education and Work: Toward an Integrated Curriculum 
Framework. A Report cn the Integrated System for 
Workforce Education Curricula Project. 

Center for Occupational Research and Development, 
Inc . , Waco , Tex . 



35p . 

CORD Communications Inc., Customer Relations, P.0. 
Box 21206, Waco, TX 76702-1206. 

Reports ~ Res ea **Ji/Techn i ca 1 (143) 

EDRS PRICE MF01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

DESCRIPTORS Academic Education; Academic Standards; Articulation 

(Education); Consortia; ’'Curriculum Development; 
Educational Change; Educational Needs; ’‘Education 
Work Relationship; * Int egra t ed Curriculum; ’‘Labor 
Force Development; Models; Position Papers; 

Pos t secondary Education; School Role; Secondary 
Education; ’‘Systems Approach; Thinking Skills; 
’'Vocational Education 


This paper describes the rationale, direction, and 
progress of the Integrated System for Workforce Education Curricula 
(ISWEC) , a project sponsored by a 25-state consortium that is 
designed to accomplish two primary objectives: (1) integration of 
academic and vocational education in a curriculum framework for 
grades 9-14 and (2) development of a process through which educators 
can elaborate upon the framework to adapt it to their schools* needs 
and strengths. The following topics are discussed: rationale for 
integration, consensus about education and work; pedagogical 
advantages to integration; role of standards in the ISWEC project; 
rationale for a comprehensive curriculum project; purpose and content 
of an integrated curriculum standard (ICS); process of grouping ICSs 
into clusters and career majors; role of assessment in the ICS 
framework; technique for using ICSs to develop curricula; process 
being used to develop the ICS framework; and relationship between 
integration and higher-order thinking skills. Contains 13 references. 
Appended are sample integrated curriculum standards and a list of 
steps toward integration using work force, academic, and occupational 
standards . (MN) 

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from the original document. * 

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Education and Work: 


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Center for Occupational Research and Development 

• j 


Education and Work: 

Toward an Integrated Curriculum Framework 

A report on the 
Integrated System for 
Workforce Education 
Curricula project 

Carolyn A. Prescott 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 

© 1996, Center for Occupational Research and Development, Inc. 

To purchase additional copies of this publication, contact 

CORD Communications, Inc. 

Customer Relations 
P.O.Box 21206 
Waco, Texas 76702-1206 

Carolyn Prescott is a senior research associate at the Center for Occupational Research and 
Development. She serves as an instructional design specialist on the Integrated System for 
Workforce Education Curricula project. 

Printed in the United States of America 
ISBN 1-55502-855-1 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 



April 1996 



Acknowledgements iv 

Education and Work: To & ard an Integrated Curriculum Framework 1 

Why Integration? 1 

What Is the Consensus About Education and Work? 2 

What Are the Pedagogical Advantages to Integration? 2 

What Is the Role of Standards in the ISWEC Project? 3 

Why a Comprehensive Curriculum Project? 5 

What Is an Integrated Curriculum Standard, or ICS? 5 

How Will ICSs Be Grouped into Clusters and Career Majors? 6 

What Is the Role of Assessment in the ICS Framework? 7 

How Can ICSs Be Used to Develop Curricula? 7 

What Process Is Being Used to Develop the ICS Framework? 8 

What Is the Relationship Between Integration and Higher-Order Thinking Skills? 8 

A Final Comment 9 


A: Sample Integrated Curriculum Standards 11 

B: Steps Toward Integration Using Workforce, Academic, 21 

and Occupational Standards 

Center for Occupational Research and Development iii . April 1996 

o o 


The Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) wishes to express 
gratitude to the following organizations for their support and contributions: Vocational- 
Technical Education Consortium of States (V-TECS), National Association of State 
Directors of Vocational Technical Education (NASDVTEc), Southern Region Education 
Board (SREB), and American College Testing (ACT). 

The following states have signed grant agreements as participants in this project: 

Alabama — Department of Education; Arkansas — Department of Education, Vocational 
and Technical Education Division; Connecticut — Department of Education; Hawaii — 
Department of Education; Idaho — Division of Vocational/Technical Education; Kansas — 
State Board of Education; Louisiana — Department of Education, Office of Vocational 
Education; Michigan — Jobs Commission, Office of School-to-Work; Oklahoma — 
Department of Vocational and Technical Education; Pennsylvania — Department of 
Education, Bureau of Vocational Technical Education; South Carolina — Department of 
Education; South Dakota — Department of Education, Office of Adult, Vocational, and 
Technical Education; Tennessee — Department of Education, Division of Vocational 
Technical Education; Vermont — Department of Education; Washington — Superintendent 
of Public Instruction, State Board/Community and Technical Colleges, and The Boeing 
Company; West Virginia — Department of Education, Bureau of Vocational Technical 
Education; Wyoming, Department of Education 


Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

Education and Work: Toward an Integrated Curriculum Framework 

The relationship between education and work has been a critical issue in the recent 
years of debate over school reform. Consider the divergent positions such as the desire to 
maintain the schools as bastions of individualistic thought and free inquiry, unfettered by 
economic needs and realities versus the desire to narrowly focus education to meet the 
most immediate and practical needs of industry. As these opposing views have been 
made explicit, polarization has given way to understanding. Today, many have come to 
see these positions as a continuum of thought rather than opposite extremes. The 
consensus is to help the nation’s youth advance both academically and occupationally, 1 
and to reach compatible goals. 

The Integrated System for Workforce Education Curricula (ISWEC) is a project 
designed to link work and education in a meaningful and systematic way. The primary 
goals of the project are to integrate academic and vocational education in a curriculum 
framework for grades nine through fourteen and to develop a process through which 
educators can elaborate upon the framework to fit it to the needs and strengths of their 
schools. The ISWEC project was initiated in January 1995 and sponsored by a 
consortium of states, each represented by its director of vocational education. Twenty - 
five states have joined the consortium or are in the process of joining. The Center for 
Occupational Research and Development (CORD) is carrying out the work of the ISWEC 
project. CORD is at the center of a dialogue among the member states of the consortium, 
whose representatives have played a key role in shaping the project. Recently, the 
consortium expanded the network of participants through the formation of an electronic 
network, the Integration Assistance Network, whose members are acting as reviewers and 
contributors of ideas as the ISWEC framework is developed. A recent meeting of 
representatives of the network was instrumental in moving the project forward and 
clarifying the nature and development of the framework. 

The purpose of this paper is to describe the direction of the ISWEC project. An 
earlier paper described the ideas and initiatives that led to the formation of the ISWEC 
consortium. 2 This paper will review the rationale for integration and the role of standards 
in the project. It will then describe the process being used to develop the ISWEC 
framework and the nature of the framework as it has evolved so far. 

Why Integration? 

It is widely recognized that students find meaning and motivation for their schooling 
when it is clearly linked to future work. 5 Heidi Hayes Jacobs cites students’ need for 
clearly demonstrated relevance. 4 Gary Hoachlander, of Management Planning Research, 
and others have stated that work is a powerful “meaning-maker” for students. However, if 
work were only an arbitrary maker of meaning for the educational system, educators 
would feel less compelled to address workforce needs together with broader educational 


Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

goals. The drive to address workforce education is a fundamental value of the culture and 
society, propelled by parents, employers, and many other sectors of the community. 

What Is the Consensus About Education and Work? 

Schools are caught in the cultural crossfire of society in large part because we expect 
them to transmit societal values — we have always expected them to do so — at the same 
time that we are in profound confusion and conflict about those values. In a time of 
economic uncertainty, technological challenges, and cultural crises, education is the 
repository for our hopes for, and ambivalence about, many different aspects of American 
life. Our ability to improve our schools may depend on our willingness to limit the terms 
of our expectations for schools to area' of widespread agreement. The belief that we need 
to educate our children in a way that relates to work and benefits them and their 
employers throughout their working lives — but without sacrificing their capacity for 
broader learning and understanding of the world — is indeed central and shared by many 
different interest groups. 

In the past, a dual system of vocational and academic education evolved in our 
n< ‘ion’s schools. This dual system has been hierarchical and fragmented: It has separated 
ano privileged head skills over hand skills — abstract learners over concrete learners; it 
has emphasized work goals for one group and neglected them for another. By contrast, 
the new shared vision is one of integration of vocational and academic education. 

What Are the Pedagogical Advantages to Integration? 

In addition to the growing societal consensus that academic and vocational education 
must be integrated to create meaningful, work-related system of education, evidence 
that integration makes good sense pedagogically exists. Humans learn by connection- 
making, 5 and so the shift from schooling in isolation to schooling in relation to the 
workplace and other life experiences has the potential to improve instruction. The 
motivational aspects of designing curricula that prepare students for work and the future 
were mentioned previously. In addition, experiential approaches to learning long 
associated with vocational education are being recognized as effective with all students. 

Contextual, hands-on approaches to teaching physics, biology and chemistry, and 
mathematics were developed by CORD beginning in the 1980s and have been used 
successfully in many Tech Prep programs and some academic programs across the 
country. This approach encourages many different forms of learning in context, such as: 

1. Relating: learning in the context of life experience. 

2. Transferring: learning in the context of existing knowledge — using and building 
upon what a student already knows. 

3. Applying: learning in the context of how the information can be used. 

4. Experie ncing: learning in the context of exploration, discovery, and invention. 

5. Cooperating: learning in the context of sharing and communicating with other 
learners. 6 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 




April 1996 

Once students are exposed to classroom environments in which they can succeed, it does 
not make sense to place these students back into the traditional courses in which they 
previously struggled, and all too often failed. 

A recent report by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education 
(NCRVE), Teaching for the Transfer of Learning, documents and describes the use of 
interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary strategies in teaching and learning. Not only do 
such approaches succeed in educating students in such a way that they can apply their 
knowledge and skills to new and unfamiliar situations, they also result in higher retention 
within the separate content areas treated. 7 A whole body of recent cognitive research tells 
us thinking skills can be taught, 8 and they appear to be most effectively taught when 
attention is drawn to how thinking skills are used to solve a variety of particular practical 
problems and to analyze a variety of real-life situations. 

Integration of curricula also addresses larger problems related to the growth and 
specialization of knowledge. The proliferation of information poses a dilemma for 
educators in terms of sheer volume. The traditional boundaries among the academic 
disciplines and occupational cluster areas tend to foster fragmentation; they do not always 
allow for a meaningful approach to learning skills and knowledge in context. Even as 
more teachers incorporate contextual instructional strategies into their individual 
classrooms, problems of fragmentation and redundancy remain. Fragmentation in the 
classroom translates into overspecialization in the workplace, which in turn can result in 
fragmentation of effort, lack of cooperation, and decreased productivity. A systematic 
approach to integration of academic and vocational education can reduce duplication of 
educational effort and establish commonalities among academic disciplines and 
workforce requirements. 

What Is the Role of Standards in the ISWEC Project? 

The role of standards in the integration of vocational and academic education is 
critical. Standards are the subject of numerous controversies: At stake are who should set 
standards; whether standards should be established at the national, state, or local level; 
and what degree of specificity and scope standards should reflect. Despite, or perhaps 
because of, these questions, standards have come to the center of school reform debates. 
Moreover, standards are serving the educational community well in many ways, even as 
their validity and importance are being examined. Standards are forcing school reform 
debates to be carried out in more concrete terms than previously. Standards are separating 
issues of educational content — what is taught — from issues of educational 
methodology— how it is taught. Standards are clarifying the positions and interests of 
various stakeholders in the education of children and youth. 

The consensus that our schools need standards has become clear. The policy 
statement issued at the conclusion of the 1996 National Education Summit asserts that the 
use of standards will accomplish the following: 

• help all students learn more by demanding higher student proficiency and providing 
effective methods to help students achieve higher standards; 


Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

• provide parents, schools, and communities with cn unprecedented opportunity to 
debate and reach agreement on what students should know and be able to do; 

• focus the education system on understandable, objective, measurable, and well- 
defined goals to enable schools to work smarter and more productively; 

• reinforce the best teaching and educational practices already found in classrooms and 
make them the norm; and 

• provide real accountability by focusing squarely on results and helping the public and 
local and state educators evaluate which programs work best . 9 

These and other benefits have led to the agreement that for the educational system to 
work, it is necessary to have clearly articulated expectations for what learners must know 
and be able to do. 

Notwithstanding the agreement on the use of standards, the number and diversity of 
standards that are coming to bear on the educational system are initially bewildering. 
Standards have been developed by various national groups representing the academic 
disciplines as well as some state groups. The national groups include the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science; the National Science Teachers Association, 
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and many others. The academic 
standards vary in their specificity; they also vary in the degree to which they address 
knowledge content, higher-order thinking skills, and attitudes toward learning. 

Workforce standards have been developed under the auspices of the National Skill 
Standards Board and funded by the United States Departments of Education and Labor. 
The twenty-two sets of skill standards, while not comprehensive, provide industry- 
validated standards in a range of occupations. The skill standards were developed by 
teams made up primarily of employers, so they provide a business-industry perspective. 
Like the academic standards, the workforce standards vary — in the specificity of tasks 
and the degree to which they address knowledge content, higher-order thinking skills, and 
attitudes toward work. Among some of the various workforce standards, similar and even 
identical tasks and competencies can be found. In the areas where workforce standards 
have not been developed, the ISWEC project has incorporated data from the Vocational- 
Technical Consortium of States (V-TECS). 

General employability standards have been identified by several agencies and 
organizations. Chief among them are those developed by the Secretary’s Commission on 
Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). Other employability standards are the High 
Performance Workplace behaviors that have been tentatively identified in the National 
Job Analysis study, to be completed later this year. Employability standards identify 
skills that cut across all occupations. They also tend to reflect a higher level of 
performance than can be expressed when job tasks are enumerated without elaboration. 

Each set of standards described above can be seen to represent a legitimate part of 
the educational process. Each represents the interests and priorities of different 
stakeholders in the education system. However, educators must still decide what 
standards to incorporate, for which students, in what sequence, and in what manner. If 


Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

one accepts the premises stated earlier that a dual-track system of education is 
unacceptable and that all students’ education needs to be relevant to future work, some of 
the questions begin to be answered, but a great deal of work still needs to be done. 

As pointed out in Revitalizing High Schools, it is easier to assert what standards 
should be avoided — “separate academic and occupational standards at the secondary 
level” 10 — than to determine what kind of standards should be implemented. A guide to 
integration recently developed by NCRVE guides teachers and other educators to 
examine academic, workforce, and employability standards together and to group them in 
the development of learning activities. The ISWEC project is congruent with this line of 
thought; it is undertaking the combination of workforce, academic, and employability 

The integration of the three kinds of standards is based on the recognition that 
standards-based reform is a key element in systemic change in education, yet the use of a 
single type of standard as the basis for curricula will only perpetuate the ineffective 
division between knowledge and its practical application. 

Why a Comprehensive Curriculum Project? 

The ISWEC project has as its goal the development of a comprehensive, integrative 
framework in which all of the standards described above are located. The project is also 
developing and refining a process for curriculum development using standards. The 
ISWEC project is premised on the need to have the standards examined and integrated in 
a comprehensive way. Thus, although teachers have a vital role in curriculum planning, 
the burden of curriculum development cannot be placed primarily on teachers. The 
problem of finding the time and resources to participate in large-scale curriculum 
initiatives is almost universally cited by teachers and administrators. Another premise of 
the ISWEC project is that employers need to have a voice in curriculum planning. Again, 
for educators to find the time and resources to identify, recruit, and work with employers 
is a very big obstacle in many states and districts. The ISWEC project can support the 
curriculum development efforts of local educators by providing a framework based on the 
interests of representative groups from the academic disciplines and business and 
industry. Local groups as well as individual teachers can then use the framework as well 
as the process to develop programs that are suited more closely to their local needs and 

What Is an Integrated Curriculum Standard, or ICS? 

The initial focus of the ISWEC project has been the development of a new type of 
standard — the Integrated Curriculum Standard (ICSy — which is synthesized from 
standards in the three areas — workforce or skill standards, academic standards, and 
general employability standards. By synthesizing the standards in these separate areas 
from the beginning, the ISWEC project will provide the basis for a truly integrated 
curriculum framework. 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

An ICS is a standard, a statement of expectation for performance, one that integrates 
workforce competencies, academic content, and employability standards. ISWEC 
organizes ICSs in such a way that benchmarks, guidelines, and rubrics to support 
authentic assessment are incorporated. 

Examples of two Integrated Curriculum Standards (in draft form) are shown in 
Appendix A. Each ICS is followed on the next page by a table, which is, in effect, a 
working document that lists all the standards that were incorporated into this particular 
ICS, with their identifying groups and numbers. The first ICS shown is based on 
performance of a practical task — sampling — but the emphasis of the standard is on the 
broad concept of sampling and its significance within the system in which it is used. The 
second ICS is based on a body of knowledge about chemical bonding linked to a 
fundamental tool used in chemistry, the periodic table. 

Some ICSs, such as the one shown on sampling, will define performances — tasks — 
but the emphasis in each of these ICSs will be different from that in a task list. In an ICS 
such as the one shown on sampling, the emphasis will be on higher-order thinking skills, 
on the transferable aspect of the task, and on the significance of the task within an entire 

Many other ICSs, such as the one on the periodic table, will relate bodies of 
knowledge, but the emphasis in each of these ICSs will be different from the emphasis in 
a traditional text or lecture. In an ICS such as the one on the periodic table, the emphasis 
will be on the higher-order thinking skill involved in using a body of knowledge, on the 
contents in which this knowledge can be applied, and on information retrieval as much as 
on the information itself. 

How Will ICSs Be Grouped into Clusters and Career Majors? 

Many Integrated Curriculum Standards are expected to be developed at the broad 
level reflected in the examples in Appendix A. The broad-based ICSs will form the 
knowledge and skill base that should be addressed across an entire cluster of career 
majors. Other ICSs will address knowledge and skills at a more specific, career-major 
level. Still others will address tasks specific to the occupational specialty. The order, from 
general to specific, is as shown below. 

Career Cluster, e.g.. Business, Marketing, and Management 
Career Major, e.g.. Administrative Support 
Occupation, e.g., Executive Secretary 

For example, an ICS eventually will be developed that addresses specific skills required 
for sampling in chemical processing plants. The broad concept of sampling will have 
been learned at an earlier point and can be referenced easily as the occupationally specific 
skill is taught, most likely at grade thirteen or fourteen. The broad concept experienced in 
high school also will provide a meaningful departure point for students who pursue 
baccalaureate degrees after high school. 




Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

The development of both broad and specific ICSs addresses several educational 
issues raised by participants in school reform including the following: introduction of the 
relevance of work early enough in the educational process to avoid losing or alienating 
students;" instruction at a level broad enough to be transferable to complex, real-world 
problems; 12 and instruction at a level specific enough to develop occupational skills 
leading to employment. 13 

What Is the Role of Assessment in the ICS Framework? 

In the ICS framework, assessment is considered an integral and ongoing part of the 
teaching and learning process. Assessment is defined in the ISWEC project as a 
description of specific performance without placing a value on results. Assessment is a 
collection of data with regard to knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that includes 
prespecified characteristics and/or agreed-upon units of measurement. Assessment 
addresses both the process and the product involved in meeting a standard. Authentic 
assessment is the collection of data in the context of and consistent with the Integrated 
Curriculum Standards. 

Assessment is distinguished from evaluation, which is the interpretation of 
assessment data that includes a judgment based on specified criteria. In the ISWEC 
project, assessment/evaluation rubrics will have three primary functions. The rubrics will: 

1. identify the components of the Integrated Curriculum Standard, 

2. describe the criteria related to the product or process about whicn data must be 
collected, and 

3. state clearly the expected quality of performance serving as the benchmark for the 

In the ISWEC design, assessment rubrics and structures will be included to support 
teachers and students in gathering data for self-evaluation and evaluation of student 
performance by teachers, instructional decision making, and monitoring of the teaching 
and learning processes by both the students and the teacher. Appendix A includes a rubric 
for one of the three components of the ICS on sampling. 

How Can ICSs Be Used to Develop Curricula? 

Traditional approaches in curriculum design are based on subject-matter courses 
designed independently, with integration attempted retrospectively. This process results 
in great resistance to changes in content or methodology. The ISWEC project is 
undertaking the integration of academic, vocational, and employability standards before 
commitments are made to specific course structures. In this process, the value of each 
area of curriculum content (academic, occupational, and employability) is acknowledged, 
and the practice of advocating one area to the exclusion of others is being abandoned. 

This process is a response, in part, to the consortium’s concern that the ISWEC 
framework not resemble a patchwork quilt. Using the ICS concept, the synthesis of 
curricula will instead resemble a woven fabric. 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996 

The standards that have so far been put into the ISWEC database are for the most 
part based on standards developed by groups at the national level. However, other 
standards could be added, including data for additional occupations or state or local 
requirements. The methodology is being refined to permit the use of computerized listing 
of the standards so that manipulation and organization are possible. As mentioned 
previously, the process for working with the standards is an important project deliverable. 

Because ICSs are by nature modular and lend themselves readily to project-based 
learning, the curriculum structures to be used with ICSs are open-ended. Traditional 
courses can incorporate a set of ICSs, but other structures such as project-based courses, 
team teaching of selected ICSs across the disciplines, and worksite learning will also be 

ICS sequencing will be built into the framework. Each ICS will have indicated its 
level of specificity; that is, whether it is considered to fit best at the cluster, major, or 
occupational specialty level. Any other ICSs considered prerequisite will also be 
indicated. Some ICSs will not have prerequisites. Using this information, curriculum 
planners will be able to sequence and group the teaching of ICSs as they see fit, 
according to the needs of students and the strengths of their programs. 

What Process Is Being Used to Develop the ICS Framework? 

Some parts of the ICS development process have been discussed here. Appendix B 
lists steps being used to develop the ICSs. The process is being refined and streamlined as 
the ISWEC project continues, but it is believed that like most curriculum integration 
processes, as documented by Drake, Jacobs, Perkins, and others, it will remain recursive 
and somewhat open-ended. Thus the ISWEC project has in place a number of checks and 
balances on the process and the products. Many of the ICSs developed so far have been 
produced in-house by curriculum specialists. However, the project is poised to bring in 
teams of highly qualified academic and vocational teachers and industry representatives 
to work on the next stage. Members of the Integrated Assistance Network will review 
work as it is completed. ISWEC project deliverables, including the implementation guide, 
will be pilot-tested beginning in 1997. 

What Is the Relationship Between Integration and Higher-Order Thinking Skills? 

One of the most exciting breakthroughs in this work on the Integrated Curriculum 
Standards has been a growth of understanding of the crucial role of metacognition, or 
reflective learning, in integrating vocational and academic education. Reflective learning 
involves the conscious consideration on the part of learners of their own thinking 
processes. Current research in learning theory generally, and in vocational education 
specifically, indicates that if students are to learn in a manner that is transferable to new 
and unfamiliar situations, they must learn and be taught at the metacognitive level. That 
is, they must learn to think about the thinking processes they use to solve problems, to 
carry out certain tasks, to evaluate situations. Such reflective learning does not depart 
from the emphasis placed on contextual learning in vocational and technical education; 

Center for Occupation*! Research and Development 



April 1996 

rather, it expands on the use of real-world problems and problem-solving strategies. 

Some areas of focus within content areas in vocational and technical education — for 
example, troubleshooting in manufacturing or processing systems— -involve thinking 
strategies that have traditionally been undervalued or lacking in the teaching of academic 
disciplines. At the same time, some of the thinking strategies often taught within 
academic content areas, such as use of the scientific method, are important tools for 
problem solving in the workforce. 

In the process of synthesizing workforce, employability and academic standards, we 
hope to find the meeting place for the teaching of these highly transferable cognitive 
skills. In addition, lesearch supports us in the notion that an emphasis on problem-solving 
and other thinking skills, especially metacognition or thinking-about-thinking skills, 
reinforces retention and meaning within content areas. 

A Final Comment 

The Integrated System for Workforce Education Curricula project will result in a 
system by which state and local educational entities can effectively integrate curricula 
and teaching methods that address the changing workplace. 

The system will offer career-preparation pathways that: 

• are organized around career clusters, which are occupations or groupings based on 
common core competencies; 

• are built on workplace and employability standards validated by business, 
industry, and labor, and academic standards that assure students of a firm 
educational base; 

• build on a strong foundation of contextual, cognitive, and work -related skills by 
integrating academic and technical education; 

• prepare learners for an ever-changing work world via the enhanced transfer of 
cognitive and technical skills across multiple occupations; 

• include authentic assessment components that verify what a job seeker actually 
knows and can do in relation to the standards; and 

• provide for multiple exit points to work and reentry points to career preparation 
from high school through an associate degree 

While the ISWEC project is concentrating on issues of curriculum reform, many 
other organizations are working in their respective areas to make changes necessary to 
foster systemic education reform. Educational guidance organizations and the counselors 
they represent are meeting to make changes in the guidance process needed to present 
students the workforce information they require to make informed academic and career 
choices. Organizations concerned with assessment have been examining changes needed 
to measure student success in obtaining the knowledge specified by the standards. Other 
research organizations are studying critical issues such as teacher training and school 
restructuring to improve educational delivery. As new educational delivery structures, 
such as employer-operated systems for continuous training and just-in-time training, 

Center for Occupational Research and Development 


April 1996